A different kind of picture: Student-written script offers unique view of paparazzi




By Rochelle Haliburton

The world of the paparazzi and the actors they prey on is the theme in the play “Paparazzi: Saviors of the World”.

In the play, Jimmy, a photographer, and his group of fellow photographers portray the paparazzi as they try to save the world from complete domination by the forces of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, and his followers.

UK theater professor John Holloway is the director and co-writer of the play. Last spring, students came up with the idea to write a script dealing with irresistible forces.

“The idea we came up with that portrays an irresistible force in America today is fame and how people gain notoriety through shows that attract people, such as American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Dancing With The Stars,” Holloway said.With Web sites like YouTube allowing people to post information of themselves “doing wild and crazy things,” Holloway said that type of instant fame attracts people.

“It becomes an irresistible force, like gravity, and the larger that fame becomes, the more irresistible that force is,” he said. “This is the basic theme of the play.”

The play is pop-culture oriented. In describing the play, Holloway says watching it is like watching a live action cartoon, because although there are actors performing, a big screen is set up that the audience watches and behind that, the actors act everything out. Lights shine from behind the actors so the audience will see the shadows of the different characters.

“We wanted to be able to move things around, and with the use of cutouts, puppets and voiceovers, the audience can experience a different type of theater play,” Holloway said.

Students who took a visual storytelling class were able to try out for roles in this play. The first month of the class was spent discussing what the play was going to be about and learning different aspects of Scientology. The class also discussed interesting things going on in the media and in the world.

Sketches were created and masks, costumes and puppets were formed. In mid-March, the students were able to get into the Guignol Theatre and begin working with everything they had created for the play.

The play took about four months to write, and has gone through a tremendous amount of rewriting, editing and tuning. It took an additional four months to practice and prepare for the upcoming presentations.

The play is theater freshman Michael Baird’s second main stage show. He will create the numerous voices in the play, but the main voice Baird will produce is that of Neb.

“I believe that people will walk into the play not knowing what to expect,” Baird said. “But once they have seen the play, they will have a newfound respect for what we have created, and they will be in awe.”

Baird said the most exciting part of preparing for the play has been seeing the end result of their project and seeing how everything fell into place.

“The hardest thing for me, in preparing for this play, has been getting my voice to match the character of Neb, who will be acted out by a different person,” Baird said.

“It is something that the actor who plays Neb and I have had to figure out how to do, and I have to make sure my voice reflects how Neb is acting on the screen.”

Katy Ochoa is a theater junior who will  also do voiceovers for multiple characters in the play. She performed in “The Vagina Monologues” and has been in a few studio shows, but this is her first main stage show.

Ochoa hopes the audience will enjoy the play and that it inspires them to come back for more.

“This is the kind of play nobody has ever done before,” Holloway said. “We have had to invent a way of creating a live action movie onstage.

“We had to experiment with doing a lot of things wrong in order to figure out how to do them right.”

Holloway hopes people who are interested in visual arts and pop culture will be drawn to this play.

“I hope the audience will realize that something different and exciting is going to occur as they prepare to view this play,” Holloway said.